U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis joined the chorus of opposition from Republicans to the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
Bilirakis spoke briefly in opposition to two articles of impeachment against Trump. Members of the United States House of Representatives are in the middle of a six-hour impeachment debate Wednesday that is likely to end with enough votes to officially impeach Trump.
Bilirakis called it a “darn shame” that the country finds itself in its current position.
“I pride myself on being a consensus builder who works across the aisled, but when it comes to the matter of impeachment I have no doubt that the process has been politically motivated. There’s absolutely no evidence that President Trump committed an impeachable offense, which is why I will vote no,” Bilirakis said.
The debate began at about noon on Wednesday after more than two hours of debate on rules for the proceedings. Since then, Democrats and Republicans have been alternating time to speak for or against impeachment.
“This whole process has been a ploy to circumvent the will of the people by removing a duly elected president of the United States. It is a national disgrace and sets a dangerous precedent,” Bilirakis said. “Let’s put this ugly chapter behind us and get to work.”
If the House approves articles of impeachment, which they are expected to do, Trump will be the third President in U.S. history to be impeached. The matter would then head to the Senate for a trial to determine whether or not Trump should be removed from office.
The exact process for that trial is still under debate with Democrats and some Republicans hoping for a longer process that includes broad testimony from witnesses and most Republicans favoring a shorter hearing with limited testimony.
At this point, the Republican-controlled Senate is not likely to gain the two thirds majority vote needed to remove Trump from office.